Urban Fold

The Burden of Frederick Law Olmsted

Mark Hough laments the chronic, debilitating inferiority complex afflicting Landscape Architects and the crutch that Frederick Law Olmsted provides.

Hough discusses the profession's, and his own, preoccupation with all things Olmsted, citing the presence of the man, his work, or his firm in 80 of the last 84 issues of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

According to Hough, "The fear seems to be that if people stop talking about him, they stop talking about landscape architecture. I hate to say it, but there is some truth in that paranoia."

Hough brings up the popularity of the High Line as a missed opportunity to promote landscape architects, "as innovators who look ahead, who are capable of solving complex contemporary problems."

"Architecture is embedded in the media and contemporary popular culture in ways we can only envy at this point, so its voice is much louder than ours. Architects can create buzz so the world clamors to see what Norman Foster and Frank Gehry are going to produce next, although it becomes less surprising as time goes on. We, meanwhile, remain perched solidly upon Olmsted's shoulders."

Full Story: Frederick Law Olmsted Is Holding Us Back (There. I Said It.)

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